Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mammogram mania and biopsy blues

Last month I had my annual mammogram.  I hate it because it happens to hurt like hell when they smash my boobs between the plates.  It's for sure that a man invented this way to find out if you have any anomalies in your breast, because if men had to go through this every year, they'd be coming up with some other method to check for breast cancer - and fast!

Well, this year, they saw something that they wanted to double check on.  So I had to go back to them last week to have another mammogram - this time with smaller plates but it was a magnification of the are so they could see better what was in there.  I would love it if we could put a man's testicles in these contraptions so they'd get a taste of what it is like to have your boobs smashed so tightly that it feels like the nipple is going to pop off...  Unfortunately, I think there are some men out there that would enjoy that act of compressing their tenders tightly - sorry - I'm just not feeling very charitable right now. 

This time, they found some calcifications.  Little white dots that were no bigger than a grain of salt - if that - and in a formation that was suspicious.  Sooooo....  today I had a biopsy.  I was afraid of the procedure - I hate pain and just knew it would be HORRIBLE!!!!!! I have this thing about control - and feeling so helpless is scary for me. 

Last Sunday, I went up to the altar of the church we attend, and told God that my life was his.  He gave me breath, and He could take it away. My life was His to do with it as He saw fit.  I gave it all up to Him, knowing full well that I was in His control all along.

You see, I am a control freak.  Always have been, and that side of me is a little hard to die away. The truth is, none of us control anything.  If I did, I wouldn't have to have a biopsy, because I wouldn't have the calcifications.  But stuff happens.  I figure it is God's will, either to teach me something, or to teach someone else something - or both.  Either way, I accepted this as part of what I had to go through.

So, I am a scaredy cat when it comes to pain.  All I could think of was how it would feel when the needle when in, and that was a fear I just had to endure. 

They had me lay on a table that had a cutout part where they have your breast hang down.  Then they had plates that they squeezed the breast between, so they could position it and hold it still.  Try to move and it would probably rip your breast right off your chest... seriously ladies, it was tight!

They took a few x-rays to be sure it was positioned properly. My luck, they had to redo it a couple of times...  Yeah... they had to re-squeeze it, which I can't tell you how much fun that was. 

Once they had it positioned right, they cleaned the spot that was where they would begin the biopsy.  Then the needle was inserted...  I thought it would be a huge pain - but instead, it was a tiny prick on my skin.  It didn't really hurt - and the numbing medication helped so I didn't really feel anything.  Then they made a tiny incision, and inserted the other needle that had the biopsy equipment inside, and it began doing whatever it was supposed to do - however, they didn't quite numb enough, because as the the thing was going through the breast to gather samples, it hit an area that wasn't numbed.  That made me yell - but it was a short-lived pain... and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  Had the entire breast been numbed properly, this would have actually been pretty much a cakewalk.

The last part of the procedure was using another set of equipment to insert a surgical steel (or titanium) piece of metal into the area where the calcification had been.  That was so if they needed to go back to the site, they could find it easily.

Anyway, once they were done, they released the breast from the plates, and one of the nurses put pressure on the incision site for 10 minutes, then put steri-strips on the incision.  I then had to have another mammogram (this time NOT so tight that I would be in pain or that it would cause the site to begin bleeding).  Then she put on a gauze pad.

To be honest, I am sitting here now and I have an itching kind of sting once in a while... but really no pain.  I was told that I hardly bled during the procedure... that was what I was also told when i had my hysterectomy.  I guess I am blessed - I don't lose a lot of blood and I usually don't feel a lot of pain.   In fact, I'm feeling pretty good.  The biopsy isn't that big of a deal. It might have been worse had they had to take a large lump out... but for what I had, it was nothing.

I find out in two days if there is anything to worry about. I am hoping for good news.  But if it turns out malignant, then I'm all for starting the next phase.  I have asked God to let me live long enough to get my girls into young adulthood, but that's is up to Him.

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